REVIEW: Rimfire Bride by Sara Luck
An entertaining western historical about two German immigrant sisters who escape their father’s control by starting a new life in the Dakota Territory.
In the year of 1882, Jana Hartman, who emigrated from Germany when she was a child, is a teacher in Illinois and works at her parents’ farm after class. Her younger sister, Greta, works all day at their farm which concerns Jana because her sister isn’t well. It becomes too much when their father won’t listen to reason about her sister’s health, so with their mother’s help the two sisters run away. After a brief time in Chicago, they end up in Bismarck, within the Dakota Territory where they plan to farm their own land eventually.
After two years of taking care of his two boys without a wife or nanny, Attorney Drew Malone is forced to hire someone, or face the consequences with his mother-in-law. His wife’s tragic death has been hard on all of them but hardest on his six-year-old son, Sam, who witnessed her murder. His youngest son, Benji, doesn’t remember enough to be traumatized like Sam because he was only two when it happened. All the single women in Bismarck are interested in Drew, but he’s indifferent to marrying again. Hiring the strong and opinionated Elfrieda as a nanny and housekeeper will help buffer that unwanted attention.
Jana and Greta aren’t sure how they’ll make a living while waiting for the group that they’ll travel with to their promised land, but they’re excited for their future. Jana’s spirited nature comes through when she meets Drew the first day in Bismarck while fending off a political figure willing to pay for votes. Drew is intrigued by the young woman who isn’t swayed by monetary bribes, so he offers to help her find a job.
Jana becomes a window dresser in a dress shop, often wearing the dresses in the window instead of dressing a mannequin. Greta creates her own job by convincing the hotel owner to offer free food, which she’ll cook, to draw customers to his saloon. These unconventional jobs for two single women start the tongues a wagging over their impropriety, but the men who frequent the hotel become their protectors, looking out for them in every way. Can Jana and Greta earn everyone’s respect in this western town?
This is just the beginning of Jana and Greta’s adventures as they get to know the town and those who live there. Jana and Drew are cute together but there were times that I wanted to shake Drew for being so slow to figure out if Jana was the one for him. Drew’s oldest son, Sam, was a heartbreaker and added an emotional thread to this family’s story.
RIMFIRE BRIDE isn’t an action packed western but there is still a lot going on that was captivating. The sisters’ day-to-day activities were filled with uncertainties as they built their self confidences after living such a sheltered life on the farm. Jana is multi-talented so she was a thought-provoking heroine. I haven’t read a historical novel where the political sensibilities of the times were explored so I really enjoyed that part. I also enjoyed the train travel and seeing the Dakota Territory, including the badlands, through Jana and Drew’s thoughts. RIMFIRE BRIDE is filled with great descriptions, engaging characters and a light-hearted romance to enjoy.
What’s on YOUR Mountain? Have some favorite Western Historicals to recommend?